John Joseph Verbrigghe

ST. NICHOLAS — John Joseph Verbrigghe, 91 years old, of St. Nicholas, Mich., passed away peacefully on Thursday, December 15, 2022 after a short stay at Christian Park Healthcare Center in Escanaba. He was surrounded by his loving family. John was born October 29, 1931 in St. Nicholas, as the fourth child, to Belgian immigrants Rene and Felice (DeBaker) Verbrigghe. He was raised on the family dairy and potato farm with his 6 siblings. He attended Rock school.

On May 15, 1954, he married his wife of 68 years, Everell Miron, at Holy Family Church in Flat Rock. Together, John and Everell continued his parents’ legacy by owning and operating a dairy, beef, and potato farm, across the road from where he was raised. John and Everell raised one daughter and two sons and spent their lives establishing and developing a successful farm.

It was with immense pride that John worked side by side with his sons, Dan and Terry, and they took a homestead farm and made it into to what is today — Verbrigghe Potato Farms. John loved farming and continued to grade potatoes with his two sons, Dan and Terry, grandsons, TJ and Brad, and late nephew, David Verbrigghe, until April of 2022. He shared much wisdom along the way.

John loved life and everyone who knew him loved spending time with him. His hobbies included weekend bowling with his wife and siblings, going out for fish fry with his granddaughter, Shannon, and watching Green Bay Packer games. As a first generation American, he visited Belgium on numerous occasions with his wife, sisters, and cousin, Andre Quaghebeur. They visited Belgian family and life-long friends. In the winter months, John and Everell enjoyed a break to Florida.

John cherished time at the family cottage on Mahskeekee Lake. He and Everell entertained many guests at the cottage and many memories were made amongst his children and grandchildren. One of those memories included his water dowsing skill, as he would be asked by many friends to locate water for a well on their property.

Another favorite pastime was hunting and the camaraderie at Frank Falkeis’ camp. When he took his grandson Jason out to hunt, he did not care if Jason was quiet or loud, John still managed to get his buck.

In his retirement, he enjoyed riding four-wheelers, gardening and going for pickup rides with his son, Dan.

He belonged to the Perkins Smear League, U.P. Potato Growers Association, Farm Bureau, and the Farmer’s Union. He was a lifelong member of St. Joseph Catholic Church of Perkins.

John is survived by his wife, Everell Verbrigghe of St. Nicholas; his daughter, Christine (Tom) Lofquist of Escanaba, and their children, Tracy (Matt) Maskart, Liza (Andrew) Soubel, Nicole (Joe) Osmolski, Jason (Kacey) Lofquist, Renee (Steve) McNutt; son, Dan (Karen) Verbrigghe of St. Nicholas, and their daughter, Chelsea (Tim) Gordon; son, Terry (Mary) Verbrigghe of St. Nicholas, and their children, Shannon (Brad Leversee) Verbrigghe, TJ Verbrigghe, Bradley Verbrigghe, Tiffany (Sam) Marenger; 10 grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; sisters, Cecilia Terrien of Cornell, and Madeline Judson of Escanaba; brother, Jerome (Judy) Verbrigghe of St. Nicholas; and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; five children at birth; brother, Emil Verbrigghe; sisters, Martha Falkeis and Mary Hoffman; brothers-in-law, Frank Falkeis, Marshall Judson, George Terrien, Duane Hoffman; sister-in-law, Madeline (Emil) Verbrigghe; and by his special cousin, Andre (Grace) Quaghebeur, who was more like a brother.

Visitation will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tuesday, December 20, at the Anderson Funeral Home in Escanaba. Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 2 p.m. Tuesday at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Perkins with Father William Ssozi officiating. Burial will take place immediately following in the St. Nicholas Cemetery. A luncheon will be served at the conclusion of the graveside services in the church fellowship hall. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations please be directed to St. Joseph Catholic Church in Perkins. The Anderson Funeral Homes are assisting the Verbrigghe family and online remembrances can be shared at www.andersonfuneralhomes.net.